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The ‘Little Things’ Roundup

It takes many little things for a city to become and remain “bicycle friendly.”  Our cycling infrastructure is more than just bridges and cycletracks, and while those things are important, they aren’t everything.  If all we ever focus on is the big stuff, one might get the idea that not a lot is going on– but that’s hardly the truth.  There are tons of little things being done to make cycling better in Eugene and Springfield all the time.  These little things that may not change the whole city, but to the select people that ride in those areas, they may be ten times more important than a huge project across town.

Welcome to our new randomly repeating feature: The ‘Little Things’ Roundup!

A Portland Bike Corral

The City of Eugene is planning on installing three bike corrals in the downtown area. They’ll be at KIVA (125 W 11th), Cornucopia (5th and Pearl), and Morning Glory Cafe (450 Willamette St).  The source of funding for the racks varies: Morning Glory is helping to pay for theirs with help from the grower’s market, and the city parking fund is paying for the installation and most of the other racks.  The project is currently in queue behind a mass parking meter installation project at the University of Oregon, and should begin sometime in October. Isaac Marquez, the City’s Public Art staffer, is helping the city plan for a public art component for future racks.  Lee Imonen, of the Delta Ponds Bridge Sculpture fame, is also interested in helping with the art component.

Want more info on Bike Corrals?  Check out the City of Portland’s Bike Corral page and business order forms. (Portland has 61 bike corrals as of this posting.)

Take the jump for more, including new RFB beacons, wayfinding signs, and Springfield!

Ninkasi is also getting new bike parking soon to replace their current “wheel bender” rack.  Co-owner Nikos is planning to install off-street bike corral-style bike parking.  The new parking, which might be covered, will go between the street and the sidewalk right in front of their new courtyard.  They plan on covering their outdoor courtyard in the winter, which, combined with covered bike parking and their outdoor gas fireplaces, would make it a great winter destination.  Nikos will helpfully keep us updated as the project continues.

The Rapid Flash Beacon on Bailey Hill Road

Remember the Bailey Hill “Stutter Flash” that was installed on Bailey Hill Road across from the Churchill Market? Turns out that it’s actually called a “Rapid Flash Beacon” (RFB).  The city just recently installed two more RFB’s at the pedestrian islands/crosswalks on River Road at Owasso Street and Knoop Street.  The crossings were not working as well as the city would have liked and were generating a lot of complaints from pedestrians and drivers.  The new RFBs should greatly alleviate the problem.  To bring the story full circle, much of the funding came from left-over money from the 2009 Bailey Hill Road Project, and ODOT allowed the city to use the left-over  money for the River Road improvements.

An ODOT-Style Wayfinding Sign in Gresham

You may have noticed that we have some sweet wayfinding signs showing up around town. A wayfinding sign is a sign that directs people on bike to places following safe bike routes.  Previous signs just had arrows, but the news signs include mileage and estimated travel time.  The city is using the  recently adopted ODOT standards.  Eugene Bike/Ped coordinator Lee Shoemakers explains:

“The way finding signs evolved over time. We used the Portland model for installation [originally]. ODOT wanted a statewide standard which we use now. Our first wayfinding project was the Monroe-Friendly bikeway, then Garden Way Path, then the Willamette River area wayfinding signs, followed by Elmira-Maple. There will be new wayfinding signs for the Delta Ponds Bridge. The Elmira-Maple signs have the new standard.”

Surely you’ve noticed or heard about the new stencils recently painted downtown informing people to “Walk Bikes” and “Carry Skateboards”. At first I was happy that they were using positive language instead of negative language like “no bikes” – until it was pointed out to me that the signs were painted facing the wrong way.  I originally saw them while on the sidewalk walking my bike with a student, so I missed the whole “backwards” thing.

Who is responsible for this snafu?  It turns out it was the Eugene Police Department who did it without first informing the city.  They also used the wrong kind of paint.  Now the city must sandblast the stencils and repaint them.  EugeneBicyclist.com has a very funny post about it here, and you can read WBE’s legal cycling tutorial here for more information about sidewalk laws.

Let’s not forget Springfield! I recently got in touch with David Reesor, Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Springfield, and he sent me a list of bike/ped projects that they are working on:

  • Springfield is beginning its Transportation System Plan (TSP) update, which includes both a pedestrian and bicycle plan update. We are working with Alta Planning on this portion of the TSP update. We are getting ready to go live with a project website that will provide more details.
  • The City of Springfield, Willamalane Park & Recreation District & Point2point Solutions will be hosting a bike promotional event called “Wheels by the Willamette” on September 29th, 3:30pm – 5:30pm. There will be a booth set up along the north bank river path in Springfield, near the boat launch.
  • As part of the Willamette River Bridge project, the City of Springfield is currently working with ODOT on the design of a bike viaduct, which will provide bike/ped access under the new I-5 bridge, north of Franklin Blvd. up to Glenwood Blvd.
  • The City of Springfield recently submitted a TIGER II Planning Grant with LTD, City of Eugene and ODOT to fund NEPA analysis of the Franklin Blvd. corridor. We had prepared a project website for our original TIGER I grant application. The following link will provide you maps, drawings, etc. of what the Springfield (Glenwood) portion of Franklin Blvd. might entail: http://www.ci.springfield.or.us/tigergrant/Springfield.html.

This is  just the tip of the iceberg of bike work being done in Springfield, and WeBikeEugene is still looking for a reporter to focus on Springfield happenings.  It could be you!  Volunteer here.

7 comments to The ‘Little Things’ Roundup

  • Delighted to hear about the bike corrals, that makes parking much easier in some very high-traffic destinations. (High bike-traffic, that is!)

  • “Isaac Marquez, the City’s Public Art staffer, is helping the city plan for a public art component for future racks. Lee Imonen, of the Delta Ponds Bridge Sculpture fame, is also interested in helping with the art component.”

    Yay! I mean, simple practical bike racks are good, but I love this.

    Btw, I just wanna be clear on the terminology. A “bike corral” is just a clustering of racks, right? Like the group of racks at 8th and Willamette? Is that basically what we mean by “bike corral”?

  • A Bike Corral generally means a car parking spot removed and replaced with 11-14 bike parking spots. Usually they are on the street.

  • Editz

    Any stats on whether corrals decrease bike theft? That’s the most important thing.

  • Japhy

    Re: Springfield. The first thing they should do is some education about riders’ rights to the roads and common courtesy. While driving though Springfield I am routinely sawed off at intersections, people speed to get in front of me and then turn into a parking lot, cutting me off and almost hitting me, and I’ve even had a water bottle thrown at me. Et Cetera. While I do encounter some surly behavior from Eugene drivers, I frequently fear for my safety in Springfield.

  • Kevin

    My bike riding is mostly between the western edge of Springfield (home) and the eastern edge of Eugene (work) and I can’t say that I notice a big difference…

    In terms of bike infrastructure, I’m pretty happy with Springfield, I don’t go all that far east toward thurston, but the open grid and lower traffic volume of the downtown area is pretty nice.

  • Dave

    Re: Springfield – For those Springfield readers/riders, now is a great opportunity to provide input on future transportation needs as the City of Springfield is updating their Transportation System Plan (TSP). Their project website just went live and is accepting comments. It would be great to hear from riders on improvements you’d like to see. http://www.springfieldtsp.org/

    Re: Bike Corrals – A great addition to Eugene’s bicycle infrastructure, however I would question whether reducing bike theft is really “the most important thing.” There are a lot of good reasons to build bike corrals – fitting 10-12 bikes in the space normally occupied by a single auto, very convenient and high-visibility space for bikes and a nice buffer between moving traffic and sidewalk space to name a few.